Daniel Levitin is regarded as one of the experts in dealing with music and the brain. He is a popular author of several books studying music and how it effects us mentally and physically. He is famous for his work titled "This is Your Brain on Music". In this he writes about the power of music, where it comes from, and how we use it. He speaks all over the nation about his findings and the pursuits of his career in both neuroscience and music. In the forward to his book it says that Dr. Levitin has published an "investigation of the role of music in human evolution and everyone's daily lives synthesizes psychology, neuroscience, and musical examples from Mozart to Eminem" (Levitin). He explores music and the human brain and focuses attention to memory and music.
In his popular book he goes through what music actually is, how the brain functions, and how the two connect. He uses many scientific terms for the brain and goes into great detail about the functions of it, but makes sure to emphasize that his interest is in the mind, not the brain.
This clip is from a conversation hosted by Discover Magazine in 2009 in which he served on a panel with other scientists discussing music and the brain. Again the clip will open in another window or tab.
Dr. Levitin is not the only expert when it comes to the ideas of music and memory but he is the most popular at this time. His explanation of music and memory is relatable and easy to understand. Another book, titled "Music and Memory" by Bob Snyder also gives reasons for our mind relating to music and recalling memories. This work was put together for the purpose of teaching to students who were not musicians. Snyder says he wanted to be able to answer the "why" questions that students posed. In his work he focuses more on the way a human's memory works and less on the actual neuroscience that Dr. Levitin referenced. He connects the idea of music to memory and the way that each keep time in life.
"Memory influences how we decide when groups of events end and other groups of events begin, and how these events are related. It also allows us to comprehend time sequences of events in their totality, and to have expectations about what will happen next. Thus, in music that has communication as its goal, the structure of music must take into consideration the structure of memory – even if we want to work against that structure" (Snyder).
Either way, music effects our memory. In studies of children and learning styles it was found that comprehension was higher for a student listening to a song of their choice as opposed to a song that they did not know. Music is used to help us learn, to help us recall memory, and in come cases to treat disease like that of Alzheimer's patients.